Category Archives: Uncategorized

dismantle: the vona anthology


vona dismantle2


Hey y’all!

Long time no see, huh? My apologies. I’ve been taking a B1 German class since the end of January. It’s just like the class I took last year–four days a week, four and a half hours a day–only harder. By the end of the day, my brain is fried. The #DeutschStruggle is real, y’all.


So I’m not sure when I’ll get back to regularly posting, but I did want to drop in make a quick announcement: I have a short story appearing in the forthcoming anthology Dismantle: An Anthology of Writing from the VONA/Voices Workshop. More about the book:


Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation (VONA) was founded by Elmaz Abinader, Junot Díaz, Victor Díaz and Diem Jones in 1999. Each envisioned an arts organization that could change the landscape for writers of color by supporting individual writer growth, creating a platform for community engagement and providing a workshop and mentor focus to expand writing opportunities. Over 2,000 writers from around the globe have participated in VONA. Dismantle is an anthology of creative work from VONA alum and its award-winning teachers including: Chris Abani, Nikky Finney, Maaza Mengiste, Minal Hajratwala, Justin Torres, Cristina Garcia, Mat Johnson, Laila Lalami, Mitchell Jackson and many more.


This book includes the work of some super talented folks, and I’m honored and grateful to be included. If you’re a lover of literature (and if you’re curious to see what I write about outside of the blog) then PLEASE pick up a copy. You won’t regret it.

Happy 2014!


Happy New Year, y’all!

One of my goals for this year is to be more creative with my blog content. So this year, to share my goals, I made a little video! Granted, it’s kind of a #struggle video, but I had fun making it. :) I’m thinking about doing some Q&A videos (which will be a lot better looking than this one), so if you’re interested in a particular topic, let me know!

And for those who’d rather read than watch:

My 2014 Goals

1. Write consistently

2. Dress well everyday

3. Exercise for health (and vanity)

4. Make money, save money

5. Speak B2 level German

6. Don’t shop mindlessly

7. Skype more (with friends, family and sorors)

8. Travel to new places



What about y’all? Any big plans or goals for 2014?

a few 2013 snapshots


2013 was pretty good to me. If I had a theme for the year, it could probably be summed up as “simplicity and gratitude.” I spent most of the year trying to de-clutter and un-complicate. Still not quite finished, but I’m definitely heading into 2014 with a lot less physical and mental baggage than I came with. I also had some beautiful moments that I’m supremely grateful for, like talking for hours with my best friend (while eating ALL of her Krispy Kreme donuts), watching my son play with his cousins, and getting to play with my cousins. It was a happy year.



2014, I think, will be the year of Supreme Effort. I’ve got dreams to achieve. Time to put in the work. But first, a last look back at some of my favorite moments.




One of the owners at our favorite Italian place. He let the Babycakes help him make this crocodile breadstick.


My first trip to Paris! Hopefully not my last.


Minus 7 Celsius. It was a LONG, cold winter.


Getting his hair cut by my brother, the best barber in Greenville!



Even though I was sick with the flu during our trip, seeing this made it worth it.


Exploring in the forest. I live for these moments.


I told them to say “cheese.” This is what they did.


My little fearless guy, who wanted to ride all of the most dangerous rides at the fair.


Got my hair laid at the dopest natural hair salon in Germany.


Second anniversary breakfast in Cologne.


My husband we planted a balcony garden.


Looking forward to more adventures in 2014.

Happy New Year, everyone!




“Tat, where you been?”

A fair question. The simple answer is I’ve been offline. More detailed:

I been writing, I been writing.

Listening to Beyonce.

Decorating our Christmas tree.

Playing Wii with my guys.

Celebrating two years of marriage.

Reading about Jon Snow and ‘nem.

Essentially, doing everything but blogging. These little breaks are necessary now and then, but I think I’m back. :)



places: afghan warehouse, braunschweig






Guten Tag, y’all!


So–if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, the you’ll know that on Tuesday, I locked myself out of the house. Sadly, this is not the first time it’s happened. Because I’m the type of person who locks herself out of the house at least once a year, I’ve developed a plan for what to do if when this happens. My plan: I get out and explore, and I document my adventures on social media; if you want to see them, just search for the hashtag #TatsLockedOut.
In this latest edition of #TatsLockedOut, I was lucky enough to have my purse with me (the last time, all I had was my phone). So instead of moping about, I decided to hop on a train and explore Braunschwieg, one of the cities near Wolfsburg. I’ve been there lots of times, but I find that the nature of cities means there’s always something new to discover. And y’all–I struck gold, in the form of a store called Afghan Warehouse. It all started with a peasant skirt.
I’m pretty sure that I was a hippy in a former life, so any time I see  flow-y clothing or smell incense, I feel a magnetic pull in whatever direction it lies. What got me this time was a rack of peasant skirts standing out in front of the store. I crossed the street to check it out, then went in to find the place that bohemian dreams are made of: shelves of African and Asian inspired art, baskets of earthy bracelets, stacks of brightly colored fabrics. Incense, henna, scarves, carved wood. I loved it. In my part of Germany, it’s very rare to find non-European stuff that’s not kitschy, so I was beyond stoked to find this place.
Afghan Warehouse
Waisenhausdamm 4
38100 Brunswick

What about y’all–discovered any interesting places lately?

the WOB list: for families in wolfsburg





Guten Tag, y’all!


Here’s one for the Wolfsburg folks (and, slightly less altruistically, for me, too). So, I’m on a mission to get out and see more of Wolfsburg(or Wob, as it’s known coloquially), and to generally be more active in the community. To do that, I need to know what’s going on, but it’s been hard for me to find useful information all in one place (and even harder to find it in English). The solution? I started a weekly newsletter–in English–all about family friendly events in Wolfsburg. It also forces me gives me an excuse to get out and interview people again, since I want to include one short article about an interesting person, place or event here in every issue. 


If you or someone you know is interested in this, sign up! I’m hoping it will help folks like me get out of the house and out into the city. And here’s the first edition, if you’re looking for things to do this weekend. Please let me know if you find it helpful!



hanging out with the women of color travel talk!


nicole-is-the-new-black nicole-is-the-new-black

Guten Tag, y’all!


Ever wonder what it’s like to live in Germany? Then tune into the first Women of Color Travel Talk panel discussion–hosted by Nicole is the New Black– on Google Hangout today at 4 pm EST/9 pm BST. Topic: Living in Germany. Tweet your questions and tag ‘em with #woctt!


And can we just take a moment to talk about how cute Nicole’s mini-me is? The Babycakes saw this picture and asked if we could bring this baby home. :) Hope to see you there!



blerdin’ out




Guten Tag, y’all!


Today I’m geekily excited to tell you that I’m today’s Featured Blerd over at! I’m guessing most of you had one of these reactions:


1)Yay blerds!    2)Umm…what’s a blerd?


What’s a blerd? Well, the simple version is “black + nerd = blerd.” But I love Geek Soul Brother’s take on the word, if you want to get a little more in-depth. Anywho–back to BlerdNation. It’s a cool site “where we, Black Nerds (Blerds), find out what other Blerds are up to and into.” I love that it highlights the type of black folks you don’t see in the dominant media narrative; I also love all this cool stuff I’ve discovered there. So in the spirit of blerdiness, let me tell y’all about all the ways I blerded out this weekend.


1)I spent a few hours in an English bookstore. This is one of my absolute favorite things to do! The English section in our local bookstore is really small, so whenever I go in there it feels like I’m stuck at sea without provisions: water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink. Not so on Saturday. There were so many good books that I had a hard time choosing which ones to take home, but I ended up leaving with The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri; Open City by Teju Cole; and Granta’s latest Best of Young British Novelists.



2)I watched Star Trek: Into Darkness. I came to Star Trek late, because I’d always thought Star Wars was much cooler. But then JJ Abrams got involved (he of Lost and Alias), and I had to check it out. So far, I’m liking the films, though I think the first one was better than this follow up. (Random fact: Bones is called “Pills” in German. Chris Pine is fine in both languages, though.)



3)I spent most of the weekend reading A Storm of Swords, the third book in the Game of Thrones series. Y’all. It’s SO addictive! Lady Catelyn keeps making bad choices, Arya keeps being gangsta, and Joffrey’s still crazier than a mug. And the wedding…!


So that was my nerdtastic weekend.

What about y’all–do anything geeky over the weekend?






flux city guides: jen’s new york city



Guten Tag, y’all!


I first connected with Jen through her awesome blog, Imported Chocolate, which is all about inspiring black women to get out and see the world. I love Jen’s attitude toward travelling: it’s all about being fearless and open, and connecting with other cultures. Plus, the girl’s got great taste. Whenever I’ve checked out a movie or music recommendation of hers, I’ve been very pleased. So I knew right away that I wanted her to do a guide to New York City, and as usual, she did not disappoint! Jen’s New York is approachable, international, and unique–just like her. Check it out.



New York, in one word:
sui generis


Your best friend’s coming to visit. What does a perfect day with her/him look like?

Since most of my friends love to travel, I would say I’d take them on one of my favorite things to do in New York: a Staycation. If we’re in the mood for a little French savoir faire then we would do a French Staycation. We’d hit the art gallery at Alliance Francaise, then head to 5th Avenue for some luxury, savory, too pretty to eat macaroons at Laduree and then finish the day off with a movie at The Paris Theater and a French restaurant crawl. If we’re more in a Japanese staycation mood, we would hop on over to Sunrise Mart and stock up on Japanese goods and treats before hitting a manga and anime store.


I’m a big kid at heart and most of my best friends are too. We love doing unpredictable things. So a visit with me would be the most untypical New York experience ever. Also, since I live near the theater district, I would try to find a good Broadway show to take them to.


One place you have to eat at, and one dish you have to try?
The Goat Cheese Agnolotti at Spring Street Natural restaurant in Soho. Your eyes will roll back in your head. I’m not kidding. And if you come to New York with your girls, you HAVE to do happy hour at Pranna! It’s such a great place!


New York is one of the fashion capitals of the world. Carrie Bradshaw wannabes the world over (including me!) dream of stocking our closet there. So–where are the best places to shop? No pressure. :) 

Unless we know exactly what store we want to go to, most New Yorkers window shop and boutique crawl. When we see some shoes or a bag that catches our eyes we go in. Some popular discount stores with designer clothes here are: TJ Maxx, Marshalls and Century 21. For outlets, most New Yorkers go to New Jersey. Woodbury Common in New Jersey is a popular outlet among New Yorkers.


Let’s not forget Macy’s, Bloomingdales, H&M and JC Penny.


Top shopping areas are: 5th Avenue, Soho, Noho, Union Square and 34th Street Herald Square.


But since I like one of a kind style and I want to make sure I don’t look like anyone else when it comes to my personal style, I like to shop at Beacon’s Closet. It is New York’s best kept secret. The most stylish people shop here. The clothes are a range of vintage to brand new European designer clothes at very cheap prices. I once bought a brand new Dolce shirt from here straight from Italy. My favorite find of all was the brand new $300 designer bag I scored for only $15! The biggest Beacon’s Closet is in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, but they just opened up a new location in Manhattan not too long ago. It’s on 13th street.


A vintage store crawl in Park Slope, Brooklyn is also a must!


One thing you can find in NYC that you can’t find anywhere else?

A hot cheesy slice of Famous Original Ray’s Pizza on Houston street in the Lower East Side. It’s “real” New York pizza parlor pizza! And I know you said one thing but I just have to add another…a fresh cup of Serendipity 3’s Frozen Hot Chocolate!


You’re a lover of foreign films. Where’s the best place to watch and/or buy great movies from abroad?
Sadly most of the stores to buy foreign DVDs in NYC are dead or dying. The only places we have left (unless you find some obscure cute little store in the Village) are Best Buy, Barnes & Noble and the remaining Blockbuster stores. So I usually seek out my exclusive foreign films on Amazon or Netflix. :0(




I am happy to say you can still watch foreign films in the theater though! I like the Angelika on Houston street, I love the Sunshine Cinema, which is also on Houston street. The IFC Theater on West 3rd Street is also great!


I’m bringing my kid(s). What’s something we can do together/that they’ll love?

Easy peazy! The Central Park Zoo or Bronx Zoo; depending on what time of year you come, the amusement park, Luna Park in Coney Island; Museum of Natural History; Central Park, especially around the castle and carousel area and Fort Tryon Park, including the Cloisters. There is sooo much more to do but that’s what immediately comes to mind.


If you don’t do anything else while you’re here, do this:

Visit Central Park!!! And have a slice of pizza for god’s sake, preferably at the same time! Lol! Oh, and ride the subway!!!


Best place to party?
Yikes! This is a hard question for an introvert to answer. I don’t party in New York at all (I save that behavior for overseas. Lol!) So I’m not too familiar with the party hot spots here, but I’ve heard some good ones are Webster Hall and Pacha.


Best place to chill?
I would say a nice lounge. You can’t really go wrong with any of those here.


Best place to people watch?
Any park or outdoor café. Central Park, Thompson Square Park and the park in Union Square are pretty good places to start.


I want to go see a play, but I don’t have Broadway money. Where else can I see live theater?
The best thing to do for this is to grab a Time Out New York and look in the Off Broadway section for a good play to check out. The arts section of The Village Voice is also a good source.


Best time of year to come?
Fall, spring and summer, though fall is the perfect time in my opinion. Fall foliage in Central park is absolutely beautiful! Mid September has a nice warm breeze.


New York is famous for the incredible diversity of its people and the cultures that they bring with them. When you want to experience a culture different from your own without leaving the city, where do you go?
I hit up the “littles”: little Italy, little Korea and little China etc. I like to do this for my staycations too!


On a related note–what, in your opinion, is the coolest neighborhood in NYC?
Hmmm this is a hard one, because I go wherever my interests take me. But I will say the neighborhoods that are the most interesting to me are: Harlem, before the gentrification; Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. You can find some of the most beautiful brownstones in Bedstuy and the neighborhood has a lot of black history; Lower East Side/East Village and if you really want to go to a part of New York like no other, visit the place I was raised—Roosevelt Island, the little Island between Manhattan and queens.




Hotel/B and B/etc. to stay in?
Hmmm. This is another difficult question. Since I am a born and raised New Yorker, I’ve never had a need for a hotel so I can’t recommend any I stayed at. We have the usual: Marriot, Hilton. There is a cool futuristic one called Yotel on 41st street and 10th ave. It’s very European inspired and like walking into a space ship. Hotels here are really expensive so I recommend using Airbnb for a more affordable stay in New York.


I’m moving to New York. What’s the best piece of advice you can give me?
You have to have some thick skin to live here. It can be tough, but as long as you stick to your passions and make friends with good people and the type of people who interest you, you will be just fine.


Do not walk slow on a cramped crowded street. Even the nicest New Yorker hates that! Lol! Don’t take any rudeness you encounter personally.


Seek out all the discount stores because most of your money will go to rent.


As long as you use your street smarts you will survive!


Million dollar question: where do I get my hair done?

Hmmm. In the past, when I was relaxed, I’ve always gotten recommendations from friends. Now that I’m natural, I do my hair myself. I am still on the hunt for the perfect, affordable, natural hair stylist in New York. If someone knows of one please let me know!


Best annual event:
For me it’s BEA (Book Expo America) for others, I know New Yorkers really love Central Park’s free Summerstage concert series. Shakespeare in the Park is great too.


A perfect day?
A 75 degree day and a nice walk through the city, with stops for treats at a bakery or cafe in between.


Best way to get around (bike? car? bus?) Also– any tips for navigating the subway?
In the city the subway is the number one choice. Driving is too crazy and it’s hard to find parking. Bike riding is much more pleasant because of the bike lanes. Oh! And Citi bank has these new bike stands all over the city where you can rent a bike for hours. You can find the stands almost everywhere! It’s great for out of towners. The buses are pretty easy to figure out, especially if you come from another big city.


For subway tips, even I go to and to figure out where I’m going. It’s the best way to navigate the subway system. Pop in your address in the “from” section and your destination in the “to” section under directions and your good to go. Those sites work the same way as the directions section of Google Maps.


If someone asked me what I love most about my city, I’d say…

That I can find anything I can possibly think of in my city. If I have a craving for something, no matter how obscure it is, I can find it in New York with a quick Google search. This is why I believe with all my heart that New York is truly the #1 city in the world.


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